First ever franchise offer of its kind for an NHS Hospital by etssetcf


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Date of Issue: 26 October 2009
PR 201

For Immediate Release

First ever franchise offer of its kind for an NHS
Hospital launched this week
NHS East of England, is working with NHS Cambridgeshire and Hinchingbrooke Health
Care NHS Trust to find a partner to provide the full range of modern acute hospital
services at Hinchingbrooke hospital in Huntingdonshire, the first ever franchise offer of its
kind for an acute NHS hospital.

This unique process proposes that the clinical and non-clinical services at the hospital
will be provided via an operating franchise agreement with an experienced healthcare
provider from the NHS, independent or third sectors. This proposal will ensure that a full
range of high quality acute hospital services - including accident and emergency and
maternity services - will continue to be provided for local people at Hinchingbrooke, as
agreed at the end of the public consultation process on Hinchingbrooke in 2007.

The franchise is for a fixed period, aiming to improve the hospital’s long term
sustainability by addressing its £38.9m historical debt to the rest of the NHS. The
hospital’s staff and assets will remain firmly within the NHS and will not be transferred to
the final partner. Hospital staff will continue to be employed by the NHS under NHS
terms and conditions. The hospital’s buildings and other assets will continue to be owned
by the NHS.

A notice asking for formal applications from potential bidders has been placed in the
official journal of the European Union (OJEU) and on the NHS Supply2Health website for
tenders. This is the first step in the competitive process for the franchise offer. The
process is expected to take 18 months and includes a full programme of public
involvement with the views of all interested stakeholders influencing the process from
beginning to end. A keystone of the public involvement is the independently-chaired
Stakeholder Panel established to work with NHS East of England, the PCT and the Trust
on this project. The meetings of this Panel are held in public.

Dr Stephen Dunn, Director of Strategy at NHS East of England said:

“This is a unique opportunity to secure a sustainable future for Hinchingbrooke hospital,
its services and staff. We are aiming to deal with the hospital’s historic debt, while
improving service quality for patients and securing value for money for tax payers.
Patients should be the ultimate winners from a process that will ensure that
Hinchingbrooke hospital continues to deliver excellent local services in the future.”

Notes for editors
•      Hinchingbrooke hospital, which opened in 1983, is modern and purpose-built, with
       369 beds providing quality up-to-date healthcare - including accident and
       emergency and maternity services - for approximately 161,000 people in
       Huntingdonshire, Cambridgeshire and the surrounding areas. In the latest Care
       Quality Commission's Annual Health Check the Trust was assessed as Good for
       clinical services and Fair for financial management. The hospital’s annual income
       is around £92 million.

•      The franchise agreement will probably be for approximately seven years, although
       the SHA will seek views on the length of the agreement during the dialogue stages
       of the competitive process.

•      An independently-chaired Stakeholder Panel has been established to work with
       the SHA and the Trust on this project. The meetings of this Panel are held in
       public. The next meeting is on 26 November 2009 at 2pm at Huntingdon Library,
       Prince’s Street, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire PE29 3PA.
•       Applications should be submitted by 16 November 2009. Further information is
        available at

•       As at 31 March 2009, the Trust reported an accumulated deficit of £38.9m.

•       The successful franchisee will be expected to provide the full range of clinical and
        non-clinical services currently provided at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, including A&E
        and maternity services, while also offering the flexibility to accommodate evolving
        needs and requirements in partnership with the commissioning organisation (NHS

•       The franchisee will be expected to accept full demand and volume risk and no
        guarantees of future revenue will be given to either the Trust or the franchisee.

•       The delegation of the Trust’s functions to the Preferred Bidder will require
        authorisation, for the first time, by the Secretary of State using an Intervention
        Order under section 67 of the NHS Act 2006.

•       Services on the Hinchingbrooke hospital site provided by other organisations,
        such as Cambridgeshire Community Services through contractual arrangements
        with NHS Cambridgeshire, are unaffected by this franchise offer

•       Further information about the Hinchingbrooke Next Steps project can be found at

For more information please contact the NHS East of England Press Office
Telephone                    01223 597545
Pager                        07699 727 918

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